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We Can Do It! Doula
| Hospital Birth
For about 90% of women the safest and best place for birth is home.
Birth is not a medical event.
A woman-centric birthing centre is next best.
In other words, for most women a hospital birth is not the Way.
Yet maybe 99% of women opt for it.
Here we explore some history and evidence related to this.
'Prior to 200 years ago all birth care around the world was humanized as it was attended by midwives, kept the woman in the center and, in general, respected nature and culture.
After World War II came the technological age. If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can also have perfect birth. So without any scientific data to justify such a move, childbirth was moved to hospitals with doctors and machines and drugs. Midwives were marginalized, with no role for women or family, and birth became medicalized.
In the 1980s and 1990s women began to react against this and began a move to humanized birth. Humanized birth means that the woman giving birth is in the center and in control so that she, and not the doctors or anyone else, makes all the decisions about what will happen. Humanized birth means understanding that the focus of maternity services is community-based primary care, not hospital-based tertiary care. Humanized birth is with midwives — traditional and official, nurses and doctors working together in harmony as equals. Humanized birth means maternity services that are based on good scientific evidence including evidence-based use of technology and drugs.
The past fifteen years has seen an intense and global struggle between medicalized birth and humanized birth. Today three kinds of maternity care exist: the highly medicalized, “high tech,” doctor-centered, midwife-marginalized care found, for example, in the US, Russia, Eastern European countries and urban areas of developing countries; the humanized approach with strong, more autonomous midwives and much lower intervention rates found, for example, in the Netherlands, New Zealand and the Scandinavian countries; and a mixture of both approaches found, for example, in Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan and Australia.'
(Marsden Wagner, Midwifery Today, first published 2007, accessed online 21 August 2019)
Consider This (Part 1)
'Are You a Good Candidate for a Hospital Birth?
A good candidate:
Consider This (Part 2)
‘Ina May recommends the following humor assessment story. “Did you ever notice that you can have a stomach pain and then fart, and you feel better? Imagine if people went to the emergency room to fart?”’
(Kate Prendergast, Midwifery Today, first published 2008, accessed online 10 April 2019)
Consider This (Part 3)
'If you are not planning your birth — meaning you are using the hospital template that’s been prepared for you by institutions, corporations and commercially-funded committees — the odds are extremely high that:
It is also assuming that nothing has happened to encourage the doctor to perform a cesarean (now at 30–50% of births in the US, varying by doctor and hospital).
Consider This (Part 4)
Impact on Women on Relocation from Home to Hospital
Consider This (Part 5)
'Why are most of the labor and delivery wards stocked with staff members who have never seen or had a true natural birth?'
(Nancy Wainer, Midwifery Today, first published 2008, accessed online 15 December 2020)
Consider This (Part 6)
'Women today do not believe that their bodies know what to do, much less that their babies also know what to do. Because they are afraid and feel like they lack knowledge, they are often reassured rather than anxious when they enter the hospital. At the conscious level, they believe that all will be well within those walls. They believe this because they trust that someone else will know what to do if something goes wrong. The authority has been transferred to someone outside. But the body doesn't lie, and that is why, despite a feeling of comfort in the hospital, many women still find that their labor slows or stops on admission to the maternity unit. It is also why so many women harbor nagging doubts about the necessity of many of the procedures done—to them and to their babies — in the name of helping. It is why so many women — and most health workers today — do not know the difference between intervention and support.'
(Suzanne Arms, Immaculate Deception II: Myth, Magic and Birth)
‘...statistics prove that planned homebirth, attended by an experienced midwife, is a safe, economical choice for most women.’
(Judy Edmunds, Midwifery Today, published 1995, accessed online 4 March 2020)
If you choose or need a hospital birth, a supportive doula could be of huge help.
Continuity of care is so important. Prenatally, natally, postnatally.